The flamboyant return of Monte Cristo to the cinema

The flamboyant return of Monte Cristo to the cinema

” Adapt The count of Monte Cristo is a challenge we dreamed of taking on together! And since it would be futile to restore all the narrative threads of this complex and abundant work in a single film, our goal was to give the viewer access to the point of view of the hero, Edmond Dantès, played by Pierre Niney,” Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte told us a few days before the film’s presentation at the Cannes Film Festival.

Challenge won hands down by the star duo, to whom we owe the two parts of the recent version of Three Musketeers, directed by Martin Bourboulon! Breathtaking costumes and sets, crafted dialogue, rhythm, preserved historical backdrop: this three-hour film passes in a flash. From the first sequence, with the metamorphoses of the hero, Edmond Dantès, the filmmakers take us on an extraordinary journey, along which they preserve the variety of genres of the novel imagined by Alexandre Dumas in 1846: “It is about both a tragedy, a thriller, an adventure novel, a love novel and a human and political comedy. Our film is designed as a show mixing these different registers on the big screen, in the heart of a fantasized 19th century. » For example, by placing the count, who has become extremely wealthy, in an extravagant palace…

An inspiring work

Considered by some as a “pre-cinematic” author, Dumas was in fact in his time an unparalleled creator of characters and dialogue. “A mine for a screenwriter! », remarks Matthieu Delaporte. The pioneers of silent films had understood this as early as 1909. Among the forty cinematographic and television adaptations around the world, let us mention that of Denys de La Patellière (The great families, The aristocrats), Alexandre’s father: “In collaboration with the historian André Castelot, my father adapted Monte-Cristo into a television series in 1979. The different episodes were very faithful to the spirit of the book and my father portrayed high society. . From this filming, which I attended when I was 8 years old, I remember a parade of carriages, swords, top hats and magnificent costumes. This first experience is at the origin of my vocation as a filmmaker,” says a moved Alexandre de La Patellière who, still fascinated by this novel, wanted to give his own reading of it, forty years later. If The three Musketeers told of the end of chivalry and esprit de corps, The count of Monte Cristo features, according to the duo of adapters, a hero now living in a society where individual interests take precedence over those of the group. “Monte Cristo is not Robin Hood!” Far from distributing his fortune to the poor, he uses it as a tool of revenge. Created in the midst of the industrial revolution, Edmond Dantès embodies the values ​​of a society led by money and individualism,” explains Matthieu Delaporte. In this new adaptation, Dantès’ enemies appear in the guise of Laurent Lafitte (Villefort), Bastien Bouillon (Morcef) and Patrick Mille (Danglars), three formidable actors in their roles as unscrupulous villains.

“Devoured by the spirit of revenge, Edmond Dantès leads his enemies inside a small theater of masks to better crush them,” adds Matthieu Delaporte. Will the hero renounce his total and toxic hatred on his own? This inner tension inhabits the hero in his 2024 version. Dantès will have to go through his own darkness to glimpse the possibility of rebirth through love and forgiveness: “It is a story of universal redemption, the affirmation that our humanity is based on our ability to free ourselves from our demons,” concludes Alexandre de La Patellière. Enough to create a real proximity with the spectators.

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